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arrested in Wisconsin

Is Your Battery Charge a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

These factors determine if a Battery charge is a felony or a misdemeanor in Wisconsin

A battery charge in Wisconsin depends on two elements: an intent to cause bodily harm and the actual bodily harm that occurs. Whether the state charges the crime as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on how much harm you cause. No matter what level of battery charge you face, you need an experienced criminal attorney to defend you.


For a conviction on any battery charge, the state must prove that you intended to cause bodily harm to someone. The court will determine this based on what you do and on the circumstances. An intent to defend yourself is different from an intent to cause harm. Once you act in a way that is meant to hurt someone, the charge depends on how much damage you do.

Bodily Harm

Bodily harm means anything that causes the other person physical pain, injury, or illness. If you intend to cause bodily harm and do cause it, it is a Class A misdemeanor in Wisconsin. This brings potential penalties of up to nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Substantial or Great Bodily Harm

In Wisconsin “substantial bodily harm” means an injury that can require stitches, staples, or a tissue adhesive. It also includes loss of consciousness, lost teeth, or broken bones. If you cause substantial bodily harm, battery becomes a Class I felony. This means a penalty of up to three and a half years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“Great bodily harm” is a step further, with a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or permanent loss of function. This brings a Class H felony, with penalties of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If the court finds that you intended to cause great bodily harm, that elevates your charge to a Class E felony, with potentially fifteen years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Any battery charge in Wisconsin is serious. If you have been arrested and charged with battery, you need legal help today. Contact Eisenberg Law Offices online or at (608)256-8356 to let us get started on your defense.